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Tao Quotes on
Tao, the Way

Tao Te Ching

Authentic Quotes from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu



Here are quotes from the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist classic by Lao Tzu, about Tao, the Way. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.



Tao, the Mysterious Way

The Way that can be walked is not the eternal Way.


The Way is empty, yet inexhaustible, like an abyss!


Obscure, like muddy waters.


The Way is eternal. Until your last day, you are free from peril.


I do not know its name. I call it the Way. For the lack of better words I call it great.


The Way is ever nameless.


The great Way is all-pervading. It reaches to the left and to the right. All things depend on it with their existence. Still it demands no obedience.


It (Tao) is eternally without desire. So, it can be called small. All things return to it, although it does not make itself their ruler. So, it can be called great.


Words spoken about the Way have no taste. When looked at, there’s not enough to see. When listened to, there’s not enough to hear. When used, it is never exhausted.


Returning is the movement of the Way.


The light of the Way seems dim.


The progress of the Way seems retreating.


The straightness of the Way seems curved.


The Way is hidden and nameless. Still only the Way nourishes and completes.


The whole world says that my Way is great like nothing else. It is great because it is like nothing else. If it were like everything else, it would long ago have become insignificant.


Heaven’s Way does not contend, yet it certainly triumphs. It does not speak, yet it certainly answers. It does not summon, yet things come by themselves. It seems to be at rest, yet it certainly has a plan.


Heaven’s net is very vast. It is sparsely meshed, yet nothing slips through.


The Beginning

The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of all things.


From now back to antiquity, its (Tao's) name has not been lost. Thereby, see the origin of all.


There was something that finished chaos, born before Heaven and Earth.


All things in the world are born out of being. Being is born out of non-being.


The world’s beginning is its mother. To have found the mother is also to know the children. Although you know the children, cling to the mother. Until your last day you will not be harmed.


Unity with Tao

Can you make your soul embrace the One and not lose it?


Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present, and to learn the distant beginning.


Knowledge of the eternal is all-embracing. To be all-embracing leads to righteousness, which is majestic.


I alone am different from the others, because I am nourished by the great mother.


The greatest virtue is to follow the Way utterly.


The sage embraces the one, and is an example to the world.


Hold on to the great image, and the whole world follows, follows unharmed, content and completely at peace.


If I have just an ounce of sense, I follow the great Way, and fear only to stray from it.


Profound virtue is indeed deep and wide. It leads all things back to the great order.


When Tao Is Lost

When the great Tao is abandoned, benevolence and righteousness arise.


Things exalted then decay. This is going against the Way. What goes against the Way meets an early end.


The great Way is very straight, but people prefer to deviate.



Tao Quote Categories

Here are the 388 Tao quotes extracted from the Tao Te ching by Lao Tzu, sorted into 19 topics. Each Tao quote has a link to its chapter in the book.

  1. Tao, the Way Quotes


  2. Nature and the world Quotes


  3. Knowledge and wisdom Quotes


  4. Opposites and paradoxes Quotes


  5. Non-action and action Quotes


  6. Prevention and patience Quotes


  7. Moderation and modesty Quotes


  8. Humility and compassion Quotes


  9. Desire, wealth and greed Quotes


  10. Good and bad Quotes


  11. Role Models Quotes


  12. Simplicity, stillness and silence Quotes


  13. Fear and imperfection Quotes


  14. The female, child and family Quotes


  15. Yielding Quotes


  16. Rulers and government Quotes


  17. Longevity and death Quotes


  18. Seeing clearly Quotes


  19. War and violence Quotes






My Taoism Books:


Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.


Tao Quotes - the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes

The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. 389 quotes from the foremost Taoist classic, divided into 51 prominent topics. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.



My Other Websites:


I Ching Online

The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.


Qi Energy Exercises

The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained, with simple instructions on how to exercise it.


Life Energy

The many ancient and modern life force beliefs all over the world explained.


Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.


Taoismen på svenska


Other Books by Stefan Stenudd:


Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Qi - Increase Your Life Energy

The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with exercises on how to awaken, increase and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Aikido Principles. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Aikido Principles

Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido principles, philosophy, and basic ideas. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about Taoism and other East Asian traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

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